Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Curse of the Black Spot: Homicidal mermaid on the loose

And for those of you who endured the last few minutes with a mechanical hare, the Italian cheese is Asiago and Gulliver's travels was the oldest in the list. Just how dim do you have to be to need to think and debate on questions like these? Good thing they go the question about theme parks or the poor bunny would have had to wait till next week. Honestly , this thing still hasn't been put out of it's misery?

Small price to pay for the best sci fi show in the world  yes? Maybe not, but the credits did roll and Doctor Who opened up with a shot of the good ship Errol Flynn. If they missed a pirate cliché in the first 5 minutes, I must have blinked. Then Amy did her best impression of every girl's fantasy from Pirates of the Caribbean. As it turns out, the only reason she even remotely scared the weather beaten veterans of years at sea, was their fear of getting  hurt  even just a wee bit. Any other time they would have laughed and muttered  something along the lines of "Now there lass, you could hurt yerself with that". But the aforementioned homicidal mermaid was culling crew with cuts of any kind and letting them know their number was up with a black spot, and that had put rather a damper on basic sword play so fancy footwork was the order of the day. Now maybe I've gotten a tad cynical in my dotage, but I'm prepared to forgive a lot if the result is a ripping good  yarn.

There I did it, I used a piraty word. Argh, I did it again.  Avast ye land lubbers! That's all I got, I'm empty now, rest of the review will be in English or that close approximation to English I use most of the time. I mention this because I'm happy to see the script , while not avoiding the cliché pile up, did steer clear of the awful dialogue that normally crops up in such outings. There were a few moments you could almost believe it was a darker episode of Master and Commander, complete with miniaturized ship and cabins, then there plopped in the middle of the floor was a pile of gems gold and coins bringing us right back into Errol Flynn land. I suppose it was fun to watch  but mostly harmless. The watery tart gave us a few scares, Captain Avery  had a few tender words with his son the stowaway. Yes he was hiding in a barrel.  Then the crew or what was left of it was washed away or zapped by the murderous mermaid with half the ep still to go.  Oh whatever will they do? Doc, Cpt. Henry Avery and Amy get taken as well. Did I mention, they killed Rory again, poor poor man. So where was I?  Oh yes,  if ye can't beat em, don't think they're all dead and join em.

In fairness the previously lethal Siren now is the, albeit misguided, but good Emergency Medical Hologram. A bit less brutal than the empty child but still unused to human physiology. Turns out no one was dead, just in suspended animation. Nice one that. Just when we were forgetting about the whole space angle, along comes a space ship from another dimension. Frankly I was wondering when the rest of the universe in all it's splendour and diversity was going to stick it's nose into the series. Matt Smith even started to talk like just maybe the people he's meeting aren't all up to speed on the lingo and tech. Now all we need is a bit more sarcasm and the comparisons with Tom Baker can start. A good start tonight and the multiverse traffic jams in space and time are a touch of proper sci fi .  Loved the bit where the Pirate captain was looking for the things he knows all ships should have; a compass, a sail and a rudder. 

As stories go, it did touch on all the places it needed to, the heart strings of father and son, hero worship , expectations and disappointment. Amy and Rory are couple of the year what with the continuing saga of how much they mean to each other. The elements of classic Greek literature and seafaring stories worked well and the exposition for those who missed it wasn't at all heavy handed. Where the Curse of the Black Spot worked best was the dynamic between the the two captains when comparing ships and especially when it turned out our Doctor's Tardis was rubbish after all. Professional envy carries well over alleged tech  advances and it was nice to see.

Line of the show had to be:

I'm confused. 

Well it's a big club. We should get t-shirts.

Could be the theme for the entire series for all we know , but cracking line. I'll have one please. So not the best ep but hardly the worst. I was glad to watch it, it was fun to and I was entertained despite the never in doubt "will Rory die, mouth to mouth scene". If you read last week's review , you know that I'm finding it hard to buy into any real danger being all that serious, after last week and the fact it's only the 3rd ep in the series. Which does bring us to the Easter eggs dropped in rather cutely in two spots. Fist we have the panel in space and time that slides open to reveal a ginger eye patched lass ( yarr) who tells Amy to be calm,, get it becalm... as in a ship not moving .. Anyroad, this woman could only be some kind of person in a Time Lord vehicle in the past, future present of the Doctor who feels she can do that sort of thing to Amy and cares enough to.  .Add to that the apparent line by Matt Smith in the Next week teaser, " There's a living Time Lord out there!", things can only get more exciting than they already are. Personally, I'm wondering why it took so long to even get around to the rest of the Time Lords. It's not really Doctor Who without them. Speaking of regular service, it's nice to know where the kitchen is, that there are at least three toilets on board the Tardis and that Rory and Amy have a room as well. Maybe even one day we'll see them too! Nearly forgot, the Positive negative reading is proof to me that the Doctor's fate is not written in stone, it can change just like Amy being pregnant or not will be one of the signals to us as to how this whole arc ends up.

 Doctor Who chugs along  happily pissing off the nay sayers and entertaining the rest of us. I like the return to the slightly camp,oblivious, mildly mad Cambridge professor otherwise known as Tom Baker.  Matt Smith doesn't and shouldn't play him as aloof as Baker ( though the "take the silly guns away" talk came close) because despite being the amalgam of all the Doctors who came before, he is still his own incarnation. At the end of the 45 minutes I was smiling and wondering and looking forward to next week. That my friends are sure signs of a job well done.

As for the future, the mounting evidence indicates we're in for a fun ride that I suspect will still not entirely answer the questions swirling around River and Amy by series end. We will I suspect have at least one or two stops on Gallifrey proper and Rassilon will put in an appearance before being sectioned for a few more millennia. If you read and take seriously the drippings in the gutter press, we will even see The Master come back for a story. Would be a waste no to have him back, he was one of the reasons I loved watching the first go around. Master stories are deeply personal and give the Doctor the hardest time, so bring on DCI Sam Tyler. Steven Moffat may have bit off more than he can chew with Sherlock AND Who, but I think in the end he'll get it right. If you missed anything , watch the ep here or go to the homepage of  Doctor Who because you can.

My beloved Toon won a hard match 2-1 , Doctor Who was a pleasant way to spend 45 minute in front of the telly. Saturdays don't get any better than this. Laters all, time to make a bit of food, and watch MOTD.

1 comment:

fatoldtart said...

And finally, a proper bit of acting from Matt whilst Amy gives Rory mouth to mouth. No, wait, not responding to being kissed by Ms Kington has to be worth a Bafta, as does Rory's not reacting to Amy's resuscitation. happy for your Toon result as well.